By Richard Weizel
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (Reuters) - A Vermont sailor who served as a machinist on a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Connecticut for illegally taking photos inside restricted areas of the warship, prosecutors said on Friday.
Kristian Saucier, 28, of Arlington, Vermont, was charged with taking photos of classified spaces, instruments and equipment inside the U.S.S. Alexandria, where he was stationed, as well as covering up his actions when authorities attempted to investigate, said Deirdre Daly, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.
From September 2007 to March 2012, Saucier served as a machinist's mate aboard the Alexandria, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine based at the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.
On at least three separate dates in 2009, Saucier used the camera on his personal cellphone to take photographs of classified areas of the submarine, Daly said.
After Saucier was interviewed by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in July 2012, he attempted to destroy his laptop, camera and camera memory card in a bid to destroy evidence of his actions, according to court papers.
The indictment charges Saucier with one count of unauthorized retention of defense information, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000, and one count of obstruction of justice, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Saucier is currently enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Petty Officer First Class assigned to the Naval Support Activity Base, Saratoga Springs, New York.
He was arrested on May 28 and is free on $100,000 bond.
Saucier could not be reached for immediate comment.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)